Agriculture is the backbone of Burundi’s economy, with 90 percent of the population depending on it for their livelihood. Since 2007, USAID has concentrated on raising rural incomes, diversifying economic opportunity, and identifying and strengthening competitive, commodity-based value chains that link producers to markets.
With the World Bank, USAID helped negotiate reforms commercializing Burundi’s most lucrative value chain: coffee. Major U.S. and European companies now buy coffee directly from producers due to the policy reforms supported by USAID. In 2011, USAID initiated a complementary initiative to strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary controls that will boost Burundi’s agricultural trade within the East African Community. USAID-supported applied agriculture research and educational activities will also increase access to improved seeds and promote agribusiness entrepreneurship.
USAID also provides development-oriented food assistance designed to improve Burundi’s agricultural resource base by focusing on:
- Soil conservation
- Improved seed varieties
- Better crop and livestock production
- Rehabilitation of precious marshlands
- Increased dietary diversity for the most vulnerable households